After a weekend off thanks to the bye, Bill Belichick's Patriots get back work on Sunday against a familiar, hated foe.
New England will travel to New York – really to New Jersey – to take on the AFC East-rival Jets.
The Jets are in the midst of yet another tough season, but New England players and coaches alike this week have talked about how these division battles can be true fights to the finish. It may be a 7-3 team vs. a 3-7 squad, but that doesn't mean the visitors can just pencil in a win for Sunday without the work and preparation to get it.
The Boston Globe declares that the game is not an automatic walkover for the Patriots. The Globe notes that New England practiced in the rain and cold in Foxborough as its prepares for the rival Jets. The Globe writes that while it's tempting to say the Patriots can't hang with the NFL's best at this point, they already have. The Globe wonders why the Patriots aren't throwing to Chris Hogan anymore. The Globe observes that a revitalized running game would help New England down the stretch. The Globe also trolls the Super Bowl champs a bit by wondering if Lane Johnson and the Eagles are having fun in a struggling season in Philly.
The Boston Herald writes that Monday night's shootout between the Rams and the Chiefs got the Patriots attention. TheHerald otes that running back Rex Burkhead is closer to re-joining the Patriots from injured reserve even though Burkhead was one of two New England players absent from practice to open Tuesday's session.
The Providence Journal says that rookie running back Sony Michel "feels stronger as ground game becomes key for Patriots." The ProJo has Hogan staying focused and positive despite his "struggles" this season. The ProJo also notes Belichick calling left guard Joe Thuney one of the Patriots best players this season.
ESPNBoston.com declares that Hogan is "staying upbeat despite lack of recent production."
WEEI.com asks, "Where in the world is Phillip Dorsett?" given the receiver lack of playing time and production of late. WEEI.com has Belichick saying that Rob Gronkowski still gets double teamed when he's on the field even with the tight end going through a disappointing season. WEEI.com says Burkhead was actually late to practice on Tuesday due to the birth of his son. WEEI.com writes that Gronk is more important than ever to the Patriots. WEEI.com passes along Belichick's classic takeaway from Monday night's game between the Rams and the Chiefs.
NBC Sports Boston declares that unlike the Rams, the Patriots won't play the Chiefs style of game if the teams meet again this January. Still, NBC Sports Boston wonders if the Patriots can keep up with explosive opposing NFL offenses. NBC Sports Boston writes that the Patriots path to the No. 1 seed in the AFC is now clearer.
The New York Daily News stirs the pot a bit this week by declaring that "it's over" Gronkowski, writing that he's a shell of his former self and that his days in New England are very much numbered.
NFL.com has the 25 semifinalists for possible induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next summer, and the group includes former Patriots Ty Law and Richard Seymour. NFL.com ranks the candidates, with the two Patriots falling outside of the top-5 and even failing to make the top-15. NFL.com's weekly power rankings put New England at No. 5 coming out of the bye.
MassLive.com breaks down how Thuney is one of the most underrated Patriots.
CBSSports.com has an early 2019 mock draft that includes the Patriots drafting a quarterback in the first round to be Brady's heir.
The New York Post declares that this Patriots matchup with the Jets will be just another game.
NESN.com has Brady revealing the defensive player he fears the most.